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Medically Reviewed

Naltrexone Treatment in South Carolina

- 9 sections

Medically Verified: November 9, 2021

Medical Reviewer:

Sahil Talwar, PA-C, MBA


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Drug and alcohol rehabs in South Carolina combine evidence-based therapies with clinically proven medications to provide high-quality, effective recovery services. One medication that is often used to treat alcohol and opioid dependence is Naltrexone. A Naltrexone treatment program in South Carolina can help people remain in treatment, cope with cravings in a healthy way, and sustain a life of sobriety.

What is Naltrexone?

Naltrexone is a long-acting opioid antagonist medication that is used to help prevent relapse in people who struggle with alcohol or opioid use disorders. It was first approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1994 for the treatment of alcohol use disorder. Later in the 2000s, the medication was granted approval for use in the treatment of opioid use disorder, as well.[1]

Naltrexone comes in the form of an oral pill that is sold in generic form as well as under the brand names “Revia” and “Depade.” The pill version is taken on a daily basis after a period of detoxification. Naltrexone also comes in the form of an extended-release injection that is sold under the brand name, “Vivitrol.” Vivitrol is administered one time each month into a muscle in the buttocks after a period of 7-10 days abstinent.

Naltrexone does not cure addiction, but it does help reduce drug and alcohol cravings. The medication is not habit-forming and does not come with a risk of misuse or addiction. When used in combination with behavioral therapy and counseling, it can improve treatment outcomes in patients who struggle with addictions to opioids or alcohol.

Naltrexone Side Effects

Naltrexone, like any other medication, may cause side effects. These are usually mild, subside within a couple of days, and include:[2]

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Cramping
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Reduced appetite
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Drowsiness
  • Muscle or joint pain

People who receive the Vivitrol injection may also experience injection site reactions such as pain, itching, redness, or irritation at the location in which the shot was given.[3] Patients receiving Naltrexone treatment in South Carolina receive regular check-ups to monitor their side effects while taking the medication.

If Naltrexone is taken too early while individuals are still physically dependent on alcohol or opioids, it may cause severe withdrawal symptoms. As a result, people should only begin taking the medication after they have completed detox and have been cleared by a medical professional.

Naltrexone for Opioid Use Disorder

Naltrexone may be used to treat opioid use disorder in patients who have been clean for at least 7-10 days. As an opioid antagonist, the medication binds to opioid receptors, blocks them, but doesn’t activate them. This helps reduce drug cravings without producing feelings of euphoria. It also blocks the effects of other opioids, preventing individuals from being able to get high or feel the effects of opioid drugs like heroin, oxycodone, and morphine.

Naltrexone for Alcohol Use Disorder

Even though alcohol is not an opioid, alcohol abuse enhances natural opioid activity. And, although it is not exactly clear how naltrexone reduces these cravings, researchers believe that the rewarding effects of alcohol are mediated by the opioid system. As a result, naltrexone works by occupying and blocking opioid receptors to stop alcohol cravings and decrease rates of alcohol consumption.[1]

What is Naltrexone Treatment Like in South Carolina?

Naltrexone is not intended to be the sole treatment for opioid or alcohol addiction. Instead, it should always be used in tandem with a complete treatment program. In South Carolina, this usually consists of:

Medical Detox

Medical detox is the first phase of any addiction treatment program. Both opioids and alcohol can produce severe withdrawal symptoms that are difficult to overcome without professional help. While naltrexone cannot be given while individuals are still physically dependent on these substances, other medications can be administered to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

Throughout detox, patients are monitored and supervised. Staff is prepared to intervene in the event of an emergency. Patients also have access to a variety of peer support services and therapeutic activities to help them begin their recovery journey.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) with Naltrexone

South Carolina rehab centers use naltrexone in a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) approach. MAT combines FDA-approved medications with behavioral therapy, counseling, and peer support to provide for a comprehensive and “whole-patient” approach.

7-10 days after the last use of opioids or alcohol, qualified patients may begin taking daily or monthly Naltrexone. In the meantime, they participate in group and individual therapy sessions to help address the underlying causes of their substance abuse. Therapy helps adjust maladaptive coping skills and thought processes while teaching individuals the skills they need to prevent relapse. Naltrexone simply helps reduce cravings so patients can focus on their personal healing journey.

MAT is clinically proven safe and effective. Some of the top benefits of MAT include:[4]

  • Increased treatment retention
  • Increased ability to gain and maintain employment
  • Decreased rates of illicit opioid use
  • Decreased rates of criminal activity associated with substance abuse
  • Reduced rates of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C
  • Improved outcomes in pregnant women who are addicted to drugs or alcohol

Aftercare Support Services

Addiction treatment programs in South Carolina generally last 30, 60, or 90 days, but this isn’t long enough to guarantee life-long sobriety. Patients may also continue taking Naltrexone for weeks, months, and even years after completing treatment. A solid aftercare plan helps support individuals throughout the months and years of early recovery.

Aftercare may consist of:

  • Regular doctor’s visits
  • Medication management
  • Sober living
  • Outpatient programs
  • Alumni support groups
  • 12-Step recovery
  • Individual counseling

When patients are ready to stop taking Naltrexone, they don’t have to worry about facing withdrawal symptoms. They can simply work with their doctor and stop taking the medication when they are ready.

Start Naltrexone Treatment in South Carolina Today

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and think Naltrexone treatment in South Carolina is right for you, give us a call today. A dedicated admissions coordinator is standing by to assist you.